In our daily lives, we fluidly move between roles – shifting from manager to employee, from mother to child, from friend to colleague. These roles come with different behaviors, vocabularies and preferred methods of communication. Personally, I always call my Mom, but I text with my nephew. I text the team that works for me, but I email my CEO.
As consumers, we assume different roles – or personas – too. They change over the course of a business relationship and even within a transaction. Think for a minute about the roles you play as a traveler:
When planning a trip, you start by browsing travel and hotel sites, perhaps talking with a travel agent. Preferred channels are web, email and phone. But once you start the trip, your persona shifts. You care about different information and you want to communicate on channels that reach you during the journey. Text messaging and push notifications to a smartphone app make sense for information on flight status, gate changes and travel delays. As an airline, understanding passengers’ information needs, mindset and communication preferences are critical to delivering a high quality customer experience.
I’m not like you. I’m like me.
As a healthcare consumer, you play different roles and have different communication preferences as well. In fact, you may have explicit preferences for how you want to receive information and implicit preferences for how you’ll respond. Here are three personas I see all the time:
- Patient: In this role, the goal is to connect with with a doctor, lab or specialist. The patient often wants to make or change an appointment and needs to know if they need to do anything either before or after their visit. Voice calls and text message reminders are preferred.
- Member: Specific-information, answers and clarification are usually the objectives in this persona. A member wants to ask questions and better understand their benefits and eligibility. Voice calls or self-serve research via web portals or smartphone apps are preferred.
- Consumer: In this role, people are curious. They’re in the information-gathering phase, wanting to learn about a specific illness or treatment or connect with people with similar conditions or experiences. Web sites, patient portals and blogs are popular channels.
As a provider, care manager, or PBM, you need to be thinking about personas and channel preferences to achieve your desired outcomes. An engagement strategy that takes into account the mindset of your audience and your business goals – maximizing nurse or care manager resources or reducing call center traffic – will deliver the quality of care and business performance you seek.
Rising rates of Multiple Persona Disorder
Within healthcare, the focus has typically been on treating chronic populations. This is because there’s limited bandwidth to engage at-risk or healthy populations. Healthcare Reform is challenging the status quo and sparking the need to treat the total population. The expectation is for providers and payers to be accountable for treating the chronic, at-risk, and the healthy – in their totality.
Now the pool of personas is even broader. How are you going to engage these populations, in their various roles with distinct preferences, and motivate them to manage their health? Reminding a working mom with 2-year-old twins of an upcoming pediatric check-up is different from meeting the information needs of a pre-diabetic 40-year old woman, who is not the same as a chronic 65-year old COPD patient needing help managing her condition. Yet, today, most outbound engagement plans treat them as one cohort.
Persona now grata
At Varolii, we believe the answer is to consider the unique needs and preferences of each persona –the patient, the member, the consumer – and map those to the outcomes you want.
Everyday we engage, inform and regularly motivate 2 out of every 3 Americans to take action on behalf of our clients. Our automated communication solutions communicate and allow consumers to respond to flight changes, credit card fraud alerts, missed payments, appointment reminders, medication adherence and more. The breadth and variety of our work has provided unique insights on how to deliver the right message at the right time via the right channel.
We find cross-channel orchestration is critical – enabling our clients to address both the explicit and the implicit preferences of their customers. In healthcare, one of our clients may remind a patient of an appointment via a text message and give them a link to website to understand how to prepare. Or they might use an automated survey with the option of transferring to a nurse or coach depending on the response.
Through our work with a Pioneer ACO, we’ve seen automated voice and text messages result in a higher than expected patient engagement rate while minimizing inbound calls and allowing nurses to focus on having deeper, richer conversations with patients.
Gaining deeper insight into your healthcare consumers personas and preferences—and applying that insight to your member and patient engagement strategy—will go a long way in creating healthier and more profitable relationships with your total population.